The return of Pennywise to Derry in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “IT Chapter Two” means the real-world reappearance of Bill Skarsgård in the role he brought menacingly and memorably to life in the first “IT.”
Director Andy Muschietti says, “This time, we really pushed Bill to the limit, and he accepted that and then went even further. Pennywise appears in many forms and, many times, he is completely out of control. Bill did not hold back, ever. He always had this terrifying unpredictability to the character. Sometimes, he would even be unpredictable to me, and to himself, probably. But we always trusted each other, and the relationship that started on ‘IT’ continued.”
Once Skarsgård and Andy Muschietti began to collaborate on Pennywise well before shooting began on “IT,” the actor and director never stopped conversations about the character and how he would figure into both chapters.
With regard to his time away from performing the character, Skarsgård says, “I was in L.A. for an unrelated reason, and Andy wanted me to do a test for some of the performance capture that would be used for the new film. It was months before we were to start shooting. I thought I’d basically be in a chair, just sort of going through it, but it was a full scene from the screenplay. I show up, and then Andy says, ‘Action!’ And Pennywise was right there. I guess he hadn’t really gone away and he just exploded out of me—even more disturbing, without the makeup. I was really shocked at how much of him remained, and how continuing to work on him developed the character even more.
“What’s really changed for him is, this time, he wants them back,” the actor offers. “So much about what happened in the past was about scaring the kids away. Now, it’s about getting them back, because he missed them in his own way. I think that makes for a stronger villain. Fear has always been his weapon, his tool. He instills fear in humans, but he’d never understood what that was until the Losers, and then he felt it for himself. I think a strange bond was formed then. To have an opponent that almost matched him is intriguing. And after a long absence, a craving can develop for the things that one misses.”
The director points out another skill the shape-shifter has developed while away. “One of the first encounters he has with a child in this film, we recognize it as a mirror scene of what happened with Georgie. But now, there is a sophisticated manipulation that he employs. He’s more cunning and therefore, deadlier. Perverse and much more dangerous. It’s chilling.”
Producer Barbara Muschietti says, “This incarnation of Pennywise is an entity created by Andy and by Bill. They both brought a lot to it, and they both realize just how much the other contributes. It’s really symbiotic. And the big difference between Chapter One and Chapter Two is that, the first time, they were finding Pennywise. This time, they know very well who Pennywise is, and he’s a smarter villain. He’s been planning for all these years, and he’s going to show them all.”
Now playing in Philippine cinemas nationwide, “IT Chapter Two” is distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
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